Pimento Cheese Spread

Dig in to this rich Pimento Cheese Spread

I love to travel to new locales and, what else? Enjoy the food that helps make the area famed. Pimento Cheese Spread is new to me, and I just wonder where it’s been all my life! This Southern classic is versatile, not to mention delicious.

Serve Pimento Cheese Spread as an appetizer at your next gathering

Seems like the South is in my future, at least in some capacity. My sister and her family recently moved to North Carolina, and my husband has been traveling regularly to Charleston, South Carolina, for his new company (follow Job Market Maker on Twitter. Yes, I inserted the shameless plug.)

One thing that keeps coming up in conversations with both my sister and my husband is the prevalence of pimento cheese at the restaurants and gatherings they’re visiting. I’m a cheese loooooover, and hearing about this spread (as I understand, it’s also served as a sandwich filling, as a condiment for burgers, and even added to deviled eggs) has had my mouth watering and mind wondering.

Pimento Cheese Spread is versatile. It works as a great appetizer or spread for a sandwich

I couldn’t take it anymore, and since I haven’t yet scheduled a visit to either of the Carolinas, I had to try my hand at Pimento Cheese Spread. It’s really a simple recipe, and the results are overwhelmingly delicious. I have to say that instead of quelling my curiosity, making my own has actually whet my appetite to try as many varieties as possible (hello elliptical)!

This Pimento Cheese Spread is rich and creamy, as you’d expect. For a little personal, Southwestern flair, I added adobo sauce and green onion to mix things up. I really love this version, but the possibilities are endless.

Spread it on thick! Pimento Cheese Spread

Pimento Cheese Spread would be fabulous served as an appetizer at a get together, spread on crunchy bread and eaten in front of the T.V. on a Tuesday night, or as an indulgent lunch any day of the week. Give it a try for some Southern fabulousness.

Pimento Cheese Spread
Makes about 2 cups

Tortilla-Crusted Zucchini Fries with Spicy Red Pepper Dip

Grab a snack! Tortilla-Crusted Zucchini Fries with Spicy Red Pepper Dip

When snack time rolls around, break out Tortilla-Crusted Zucchini Fries with Spicy Red Pepper Dip. This tasty snack is easy to put together and delivers a little crunch and a little zing. These fries are actually baked, so they’re healthier than many other snack options. Score!

Dip in with Tortilla-Crusted Zucchini Fries with Spicy Red Pepper Dip

I love it when great snacks come together easily. These simple Tortilla-Crusted Zucchini Fries with Spicy Red Pepper Dip are low on fuss factor, but rank pretty darn high on flavor factor. They’re perfect to help tide you over until mealtime, and they make a great side dish, too.

On the table: Tortilla-Crusted Zucchini Fries with Spicy Red Pepper Dip

From soups to muffins to “pasta,” is there anything zucchini can’t do? I love it, and love to serve these fries with this sweet-and-spicy, creamy dip on the side. If you’d like a dip with a little less heat, use roasted red peppers instead.

These fries are gluten free, and are ideal to serve all year long. Keep snack time simple and keep it tasty.

If you’re looking for a few more ways to get your zucchini fix, try one of these tasty recipes:

Zucchini Ribbon and Ricotta Pizza

Zucchini, Mushroom and Thyme Strata

Baked Tuna and Zucchini Cakes with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing


Serves 4

Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars

Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars are a healthy snack

We’re almost at the end of January (can you believe it?) and I’ve been pretty good about sticking with my New Year resolutions. How are you doing? Whether you said it aloud at the strike of midnight to start the year off right, or you kept it to yourself, many of us resolved to eat healthier this year.

Delight in Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars

Eating healthy includes getting your fill of good-for-you foods, including veggies and fruit. If you’re looking for healthier eating ideas and snack options, try adding the Feel Good Fruit to your day. What’s the Feel Good Fruit? Prunes!

Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars are a delicious and healthy snack

I used Sunsweet® prunes and plum juice to make these deliciously moist Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars. This snack tastes like a decadent dessert, but it’s so much better for you than what you might find from a vending machine, the cafeteria, or a bakery.

Dried fruit is a great addition to recipes but it’s also a great snack idea, especially during the winter months when fresh fruit might not be as readily available. Let’s not forget that dried fruit is super portable. You can easily pop a bag of Sunsweet® Amaz!n Diced Prunes or Amaz!n Prunes in your work or school bag to snack on. You can toss them in cereal, oatmeal, or salad for added flavor and fiber.

Healthy snack or dessert, Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars taste amazing

One serving of Amaz!n Diced Prunes is a good source of fiber for only 100 calories. Check out even more good info about prunes.

Studies suggest the following positive effects from certain nutrients in prunes:

  • Bone Health: Prunes may promote healthy bones. Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi of Florida State University says, “Dried plums (prunes) are the most bone-friendly fruit that I have seen in decades. They are nature’s solution to maintaining good bone health.” Dr. Arjmandi hypothesizes that the many compounds and nutrients contained in prunes, such as vitamin K, potassium, copper and boron, likely work synergistically to have this positive effect. Additional research is currently being conducted to learn more about prunes and bone health.
  • Potassium: Potassium may help prevent hypertension and stroke and play a role in helping support cell energy by regulating fluid balance, nerve impulses and muscle contraction to increase energy.
  • Fiber: A diet containing foods with fiber can replace fats and sweets, and contributes to heart health.
  • Regularity: A fiber rich diet may contribute to maintaining a consistent digestive tract which helps lead to improved digestive health.

Full of flavor and healthy ingredients, Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars make a great snack or dessert

I used PlumSmart® Light juice in this recipe for Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars, but it’s also a delicious drink on its own. You can even add it to your next smoothie. PlumSmart Light is refreshing with gorgeous color, and is made from a special variety of fresh, juicy plums. It has only 60 calories and 15g of carbs, and helps you stay fit on the inside by providing a good source of fiber.

Whether you enjoy Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars at breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or even as dessert, you’ll feel good knowing that the Feel Good Fruit is included in each bite. These bars are rich and decadent, but won’t ruin your healthy-eating resolution.

Recipe for Chewy Coconut and Dried Fruit Bars
Makes 9 bars

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro

A gluten-free, delicious snack: Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro

You can easily enjoy Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro as an appetizer, but I love them as an easy snack. They’re perfect late in the morning before lunch, or halfway through the afternoon as you make your way to dinner. They’re filling, healthy, and flavorful. If you’re keen on quinoa, give my recipe for Chickpea-Quinoa Burgers with Sun Dried Tomatoes a try. I love these for a light meal.

Perfect as a gluten-free snack everyone will love, Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro are full of flavor

When my 2-year-old niece was visiting recently, I asked her what she wanted to eat for breakfast. I expected a response like, toast or milk or banana, but never did I imagine she’d ask for quinoa. So, I gave the girl what she wanted: quinoa with milk and berries.

I also made quinoa muffins that the little cutie loved. I wish she had still been in town to enjoy the Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro, because I think she would have liked them, too (and I just wish she was still in town because she’s adorable). These bites are soft yet slightly crispy, with lots of texture and flavor.

Serve Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro alone or with a dip

I might have changed the ingredient list slightly for a toddler – leaving out the cayenne pepper and cilantro (but maybe not) – and that’s something that makes this recipe so great. It’s flexible enough to personalize with your favorite ingredients.

Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro are a savory snack that is tasty on its own, but you might also try them with a dip. I made a lemon-pepper yogurt dip to serve with these. I combined plain Greek yogurt with lemon-pepper seasoning and lemon zest – super simple.

These treats are perfect for little hands and bigger ones, too. They’re a snack that will definitely satisfy your hunger.

Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Cilantro
Makes 2 dozen bites

Black-eyed Peas, Spinach, and Creamy Tomato Hand Pies

Serve Black-eyed Peas, Spinach, and Creamy Tomato Hand Pies

Who couldn’t use a little good luck in the New Year? To welcome in 2015, I thought I’d go with Southern tradition and serve black-eyed peas and greens. These Black-eyed Peas, Spinach, and Creamy Tomato Hand Pies are a fun way to serve a traditional dish.

Bake a batch of Black-eyed Peas, Spinach, and Creamy Tomato Hand Pies

Based on Southern tradition, eating black-eyed peas for the New Year is thought to bring luck and prosperity to those who partake. Traditionally, black-eyed peas are combined with some sort of greens and stewed tomatoes. The greens represent paper money, the black-eyed peas represent coins, and stewed tomatoes for health and wealth.

Combined, you’re in for a tasty treat – and hopefully a big batch of good things to come in the New Year. For a twist on a traditional dish, I thought it would be fun to include all these goodies combined into portable and fun hand pies. Whether you serve these as snacks, appetizers, or part of a light meal, these vegetarian hand pies are full of flavor.

One of many Black-eyed Peas, Spinach, and Creamy Tomato Hand Pies

My husband’s family always serves some combination of black-eyed peas and greens for the New Year, and I’m happy to keep the tradition going with these Black-eyed Peas, Spinach, and Creamy Tomato Hand Pies.

Here’s wishing all the best to you in the New Year!

Black-Eyed Peas, Spinach, and Creamy Tomato Hand Pies
Makes 12 hand pies